Two unfamiliar opponents will begin a two-game series on Tuesday night as the Boston Red Sox host the Cincinnati Reds.
Boston has won nine consecutive and 12 of the 13 all-time regular-season games played between the teams, sweeping three of the four total series since 2005. The teams’ most momentous matchup occurred in the 1975 World Series, which Cincinnati won in seven games.
The Red Sox will look to bounce back from a 10-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, their most lopsided setback of the season. The shutout came just a day after they enjoyed a five-homer outburst.
“(The Orioles have) some solid hitters that hit the ball out of the ballpark. That was the whole series right there,” said Boston manager Alex Cora, who team lost three of five to Baltimore. “We didn’t keep it in the ballpark. They did damage, and that’s why they won the series.”
Boston, which has lost all six of its series against division foes this season, had won four consecutive series overall before dropping the rare five-game set to the Orioles.
On Monday, Boston was held to just four hits and only two against Orioles starter Tyler Wells over the first six innings.
One of the Red Sox’s two extra-base hits was a double by Xander Bogaerts, who was a bright spot in the series, going 7-for-17 (.412).
While Franchy Cordero started at first base three times in the Baltimore series, Bobby Dalbec is 6-for-15 (.375) over a current five-game hit streak.
“(Dalbec is) controlling the strike zone and being on time,” Cora said. “You can see it in how he’s taking pitches.”
Boston’s Michael Wacha (3-0, 2.83 ERA) is slated to make his first start since the Chicago White Sox tagged him for five runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings on Thursday. He hadn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his previous six starts.
Wacha is 12-2 with a 2.81 ERA over 23 career appearances (19 starts) against the Reds, though Tuesday will be his first start vs. Cincinnati since 2019.
Before making their first visit to Boston since 2014, the Reds were unable to complete a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants, falling 6-4 on Sunday in Cincinnati.
Reds starter Tyler Mahle allowed just one hit and struck out eight while throwing 104 pitches in 6 2/3 scoreless innings, but the Giants salvaged the series finale with six runs off relievers Jeff Hoffman and Art Warren.
The Cincinnati rotation has worked at least six innings in nine of the past 16 games. The Reds will look to continue that recent success when Luis Castillo (1-2, 4.35 ERA) takes the ball first in Boston.
“We all know how important starting pitching is,” Reds manager David Bell said recently. “It’s been a big part of our team for several years now. We’re getting back to making that a strength again this season.”
Castillo, who has never pitched against the Red Sox, hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his four starts this year. He began the regular season on the 10-day injured list due to a right shoulder strain before returning to action on May 9.
Castillo’s lone win came in his most recent start. He struck out six and allowed just two runs on four hits and one walk in five innings on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs.
“It’s part of being a great pitcher, one of the best in baseball. He’s a pitch away, always, to get a big strikeout, get a big ground-ball out (or) double play,” Bell said of the 2019 All-Star. “He’s a pleasure to watch pitch and to have out there.”
–Field Level Media